the politics of lumber

Danny Noonan: I haven’t even told my father about the scholarship I didn’t get. I’m gonna end up working in a lumberyard the rest of my life.
Ty Webb: What’s wrong with lumber? I own two lumberyards.
Danny: I notice you don’t spend too much time there.
Ty: I’m not quite sure where they are. …

Danny: Where’d it go?
Ty: Right into the lumberyard.



sun after moon after sun after moon after sun
each watched over trees rising and covering acre after acre

sun and moon have no words of course for “forest”

purchased and surveyed trees rising and covering acre after acre
transformed into a tree farm for lumber and profit

sun after moon after sun after moon after sun
continued as if nothing at all had occurred since time flies

sun and moon have no words of course for “commerce”


Earth Day 2017

“Deforestation! You are raping the earth!”

“These are our jobs! Lumber is feeding our families!”


she had a perfectly symmetrical face
& whitened teeth righted by braces

her hair blonde & styled as if a helmet
as she explained the Top Story Tonight:

“A man wearing a ‘Make America Great Again’ red ball cap
struck and killed a Mexican-American at Home Depot
earlier this afternoon with a 2×4 in the lumber section.”

Behind her a large orange image of the Home Depot logo appeared
while scrolling beneath her in redband: “Witnesses said the man in the hat
yelled ‘Speak English!’ leading to a fight and Mr. Garcia’s death.”

“Our own Beth Yu spoke with an officer at the scene. Beth.”
“Police Officer Ben White said there is no reason at this time
to suspect this was anything other than an argument, nothing racial.”

“Thank you, Beth. Witnesses also said the deceased was accompanied
by his three children but his remaining immediate family has not yet been notified.
Now, Steve, seems like spring is in the air. How does it look outside?”

my vegan lover is a paradox

That the sunny days do stick to walls
And then enter you
“There Is No Name Yet,” Dorothea Lasky

Because life is no more important than eating
“Why Poetry Can Be Hard for Most People,” Dorothea Lasky

If only one’s eyes weren’t visible to others, she thinks. If only one could hide one’s eyes from the world.
The Vegetarian, Han Kang

my vegan lover
takes me in her mouth
because she says
i am a willing participant

“this is for me”
she explains afterward
pressing her glistening lips to mine
pinning me down as if forever

taking me because she longs to eat me
consume me entirely
drawing me fully
into every opening of her possible

and then the merger complete
we are indistinguishable
one from the other
taken and given with eyes wide open

—P.L. Thomas

we rape the bees (because we can)

“I was carried to Ohio in a swarm of bees”
“Bloodbuzz Ohio,” The National

“O brave new world,/ That has such people in’t!”
Miranda, The Tempest, William Shakespeare

we rape the bees
since seized honey tastes sweet

because we can

brute force for unjust desserts
tiny humming workers enslaved

because we can

golden lips and sticky fingers
trump the frailty of small things

because we can

we rape the bees
since seized honey tastes sweet

because we can

—P.L. Thomas